The man charged in the fatal July shooting of a TikTok star and his friend at a California movie theater pleaded not guilty on Monday by reason of insanity, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Joseph Jimenez, 20, is charged with two counts of murder and faces a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm causing death, as well as a special circumstance for lying in wait. The charges make Jimenez eligible for the death penalty if found guilty.
The charges stem from the July 26 shooting at the Regal Edwards Corona Crossings theater of Anthony Barajas, a 19-year-old TikTok star, and Rylee Goodrich, 18, both of Corona. Barajas and Goodrich were on their first date seeing a night showing of “The Forever Purge” when both were shot in the head in the almost empty theater.
Goodrich died on the scene, and Barajas died five days later after his family took him off life support.
Police arrested Jimenez two days after the shooting after identifying him based on witness statements and found him in possession of a firearm matching the caliber of that used in the shooting, as well as “additional evidence related to the crime scene.” Police have found no connections between Jimenez and the two victims and consider the shooting unprovoked.
Jimenez gave a jailhouse interview to the Riverside Press-Enterprise following his arrest, during which he said he heard voices before he shot the couple and that he had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had been off his medication at the time of the shooting.
If Jimenez is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he would be treated in a state mental hospital. Jimenez is due back in court on Jan. 28.